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March 5, 2015 / 14 Adar , 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Boycott’

Congressional Bill Introduced: Europe Must Reject Anti-Israel BDS in Free Trade Deal

Wednesday, February 11th, 2015

If Europe wants to enjoy the benefits of what could be the largest free trade deal in history, the leaders of its member nations will have to pay a price: they must agree to reject the anti-Israel Boycott, Divest and Sanctions (BDS) movement, say two U.S. Representatives – one from each side of the political aisle.

The Israel Trade and Commercial Enhancement Act was formally submitted Tuesday afternoon (Feb. 10) on Capitol Hill under bipartisan sponsorship, which is expected to smooth the way for rapid passage.

But there’s a catch. The legislation will “leverage ongoing trade negotiations to discourage prospective U.S. trade partners from engaging in economic discrimination against Israel, said Representatives Juan Vargas (D-CA) and Peter Roskam (R-IL), who co-sponsored the bill.

Additional co-sponsors are to be recruited to the measure after its introduction to the floor. The two lawmakers said they are optimistic the bill will pass through the House of Representatives.

It’s a great deal. It is estimated the measure could add as much as 0.5 percent to the European Union’s annual economic output. The flip side of it, however, involves how the bill impacts the ongoing free trade negotiations between the U.S. and the EU. Foreign companies traded on U.S. stock exchanges will have to disclose links to BDS activities, and whether they have faced any pressure for avoiding participation in any boycotts.

“The bill … establishes a clear U.S. policy of opposing BDS as detrimental to global trade and regional peace and stability,” the two lawmakers wrote in their introduction to the legislation. They also noted that the measure was created in response to a growing trend among countries “primarily in Europe, to isolate and delegitimize Israel through BDS for political purposes.”

“Today, an alarming number of countries within the European Union and beyond have embraced BDS as a form of economic warfare aimed to cripple Israel’s economy and demonize its very existence. These attacks not only threaten Israel, but commercial relations across the globe,” Roskam told reporters.

“The US-Israel Trade and Commercial Enhancement Act will ensure that American free trade partners never engage in this harmful and illegitimate political protest against Israel, while also protecting US companies from foreign lawsuits targeting their associations with Israel.”

Vargas likewise noted, “BDS is a harmful political tactic which seeks to undermine and diminish Israel’s economic strength. We need to reassure our commitment to our ally in the region by clearly defining US policy to oppose this practice and dissuade other nations from adopting BDS policies toward Israel.”

The measure also unequivocally underlines the “strategic importance of trade and commercial relations to the pursuit of sustainable peace and regional stability,” making it clear that boycotts break down the potential for peace between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, the lawmakers said.

Perhaps that bit of wisdom should be directed towards the PA headquarters at its capital in Ramallah: Its latest anti-Israel economic boycott has just been launched, punishing local merchants far more than Israeli manufacturers. Worse, the boycott reinforces for Israelis the utter futility of attempting to secure any lasting agreement with anyone who claims to lead the Palestinian Authority.

Arab governments in the Middle East come and go, and so do those who lead the Arab residents of Judea, Samaria and Gaza. The PA commitments in particular – on paper or otherwise – can be likened to a ritual courtesy one carries out in ceremonial garb. They mean everything for the moment, but are instantly put aside when “reality” steps back into the scene. In that moment, all is forgotten and anything goes, as happened with the obligations of the internationally recognized Oslo Accords.

A bill such as the Roskam-Vargas measure is invaluable, coming at a time when a European groundswell of anti-Semitism appears to be growing into a tsunami and the U.S.-Israel relationship appears to be floundering in ways never seen before. The entire Middle East is in disarray, and Israel may be facing an existential threat from Iran as it gallops towards a nuclear military threshold. It is precisely now, as Iran strengthens its terrorist guerrilla proxies to the north and south of Israel’s borders, that the Jewish State most needs the support of its friends in the international community.

How fortunate that the lawmakers in Congress have chosen this moment to reaffirm — and concretely demonstrate — America’s commitment to Israel, and to underscore the strong relationship both nations share.

UK Jews Buy Israeli Goods for Needy Brits

Tuesday, December 23rd, 2014

Thousands of British Jews fought an anti-Israel boycott this week with a campaign that saw Israeli goods gifted to needy British families.

In a “Day of Action for Israel,” pro-Israel activists purchased Israeli-made goods from dozens of stores, and donated them to the needy.

“We achieved three goals: we pushed back against the boycott, we helped Israeli exports, and we gave the food to the homeless and to low-income families,” organizer Raffi Bloom told Maariv/nrg.

Bloom said the day of action was wildly successful, so much so that there are plans to make it an annual tradition.

Is This Song Racist or Reality?

Wednesday, November 26th, 2014

Amir Benayoun is a popular Mizrachi Israeli singer/composer with a small problem. He’s not left-wing, and sometimes his songs are political commentary — and not from a left-wing perspective.

This past week he released a song called “Ahmed Loves Israel” (song and translated lyrics below)

In particular, it reminds the listeners that the Arab terrorists in Har Nof Massacre, in the Merkaz HaRav Massacre, in the Rechavam Ze’evi assassination, in the Yehuda Glick assassination attempt, and in many of the other terror attacks worked near the places where they committed their terror attacks, and they seemed normal, until they weren’t. It was those massacres he was thinking of when he wrote the song.

The song is not politically correct. But it does encapsulate some of the fears that many Israelis feel right now towards their Arab neighbors, some of whom are currently rioting, shooting fireworks at police, stoning buses and trains, stabbing Jews in Jerusalem, and running over people over with their cars and bulldozers.

What he sang may not be nice to say out loud, but it does represent a part of the reality that Israel has been living with.

Following the outrage led by Israel’s left and President Ruby Rivlin’s boycott, Benayoun composed the following song, “Enemy of the State”, in response to the attempts to vilify and boycott him and paint him as the bad guy:

Here are the translated lyrics:

You are allowed to go up on the roof and shoot with joy
You are allowed as an elected official to even show support
You are allowed to shout ‘Death to the Jews’
And a small guy like me is not allowed to sing songs  

You are allowed to wave the flag of a terrorist state
Nowadays its even in fashion if you are a little enlightened
In the name of God, you are allowed to shed blood
And I the smallest of people am forbidden to say a few words
 
If the killer has become the victim
And I have became the despicable murderer
I do not have much left to say
I live in a scary and insane world  

You are allowed to run over a police officer, after all he is the devil
And anyone who does not think like you he is just a little infidel
You are allowed to crush with your tractor a hapless Jew
And me a fool like me is -censored-  

If the killer has become the victim
And I have became the despicable murderer
I do not have much left to say
In a world that is so despicable and insane  

If rejoicing in the death of Jewish children – is no problem
I have nothing to look for I’m going to be hospitalized by force  

You are allowed to run over a police officer, he is the devil
Anyone who does not think like you – is like a little heretic
You are allowed to shout ‘Death to the Jews’

But a small guy like me is forbidden to sing songs
An idiot like me is forbidden to sing songs

But you deserve to be able to judge for yourselves. Here is the song that set off the fireworks (well the fireworks were already set off, and so was the rage, but you get the point):

Salam Alekum my name is Ahmed
I live in Jerusalem, I study at the university a thing or two
Who like me enjoys the best of both worlds
I am today moderate and smiling
Tomorrow I will fly to the sky
Send to hell a Jew or two

It is true that I am just an ungrateful creep
It is true but I am not blame I did not grow up on love
It is true there will come the moment when you will turn to me your back and then
I’ll stick with you the sharpened ax

I Ahmed live in the central region
I work near the kindergarten
And responsible – for the gas cylinders
Who like me enjoys the best of both worlds
Today I am
And tomorrow they are not
Many of them, a lot of them not

It is true that I am just an ungrateful creep
It is true but I am not to blame me as I did not grow up on love
It is true there will come the moment when you will turn to me your back and then
I’ll shoot you straight in the back

The following is a song he wrote in response to the Har Nof Massacre:

Controversy Bubbles Up in SodaStream Bid to Leave Samaria

Tuesday, November 4th, 2014

SodaStream International, an Israeli firm, has announced a deal has been finalized to close its factory in Mishor Adumim – an industrial park in the Samaria city of Maale Adumim, ten minutes north of Jerusalem – and move to southern Israel. Negotiations have been in the works for months.

The company and anyone associated has been harassed unmercifully by the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement due to the location of the factory, which was built in an area developed by Israel after the 1967 Six Day War.

That includes actress Scarlett Johansson, who quit her post as a spokesperson for the far left Oxfam International nonprofit organization after being hassled for her ties to SodaStream.

But BDS activists somehow missed the point that the factory emphasizes co-existence in its even-handed approach to hiring some 500 Palestinian Authority Arabs as well as Jews.

With the closure of the factory, PA Arabs are the ones whose livelihoods will be hurt the most; many will find it difficult to replace their wages and working conditions (on-site mosque, etc) locally. Most may be unable to cross into pre-1967 Israel to replace their current jobs within a reasonable distance.

Even more ridiculous is the fact that SodaStream never should have been a target in the first place. Mishor Adumim was always seen as a place that would remain under Israeli control, according to the 1993 internationally-recognized Oslo Accords, signed both by Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

Nevertheless, the international BDS movement has been tracking and harassing SodaStream for quite some time and apparently, it intends to continue despite the disappearance of any reason to harass its target.

One would think activists with the group would be lifting glasses of the bubbly to celebrate SodaStreams move across the so-called “Green Line” into pre-1967 Israel.

But not so. Now the group is claiming it will continue its boycott because SodaStream will move its factory next year to Lehavim, near Be’er Sheva, in the “Naqab.”

The move will bring the company a savings of two percent, officials say.

But BDS insists the factory will displace Bedouin residents of the “Naqab” – that is, the Negev. How the construction of a factory in Lehavim, an existing town, will displace Bedouin residents in the vast expanse of a region that comprises literally 60 percent of Israels land mass, is anyone’s guess.

But somehow, the BDS people have managed to twist their logic around that pretzel.

Israel, meanwhile, is providing an incentive grant of $20 million for the new factory as part of its effort to encourage revitalization in the south.

Will SodaStream try to obtain work permits for its current Arab employees? Yes, says CEO Daniel Brinbaum, of course. He will welcome them at the new plant as well – but they will face a daily trip of up to 60 miles from the original work site.

Co-existence does not go out of style in a corporate culture simply because a factory relocates. It just may be that those PA Arabs who are unable to move south with SodaStream into pre-1967 Israel will end up being replaced by Negev Bedouin.

Jews and Bedouin in southern Israel have been living and working together for decades, BDS notwithstanding. In the south, Israelis have no reason to prove anything to anyone, least of all to activists with an agenda to stir up trouble without necessity. Survival is everyone’s main priority, first and last.

Politically Correct Krimkeit

Friday, October 24th, 2014

I have focused my last few columns on what I feel is the bane of human existence – krim people. These are adult men and women who have a twisted ego: some unrealistically see themselves as being superior and Hashem’s gift to mankind – or conversely, they subconsciously have huge inferiority complexes. This unbalanced self-view can create individuals who are socially incompetent, deeply depressed and/or full of rage. Most act, react or relate in a way that is atypical and arguably pathologically abnormal.

In my opinion, two hard-to-ignore red flags that indicate the likelihood of noxious krimkeit are if someone is blatantly hypocritical and hypercritical.

As I’ve mentioned before, there is a classic Yiddish saying that nails the nature of hypocrisy. In English it translates to, “No one sees his own hunchback.” It means that people are quick to point out someone else’s flaws, but are unable or unwilling to see their own. They have the disgusting habit of constantly criticizing people for the very wrongs they themselves are guilty of.

Krimkeit, however,is not limited to the mindset and actions of just individuals. Whole groups of people, or even organizations can be disturbingly krim – especially when it comes to Jews and the State of Israel. As reported this summer in Canada’s Jewish Tribune, “the Presbyterian Church USA (PCUSA) voted to divest from three companies that do business with Israel while claiming its action does not signify an alignment with the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement… The PCUSA focused on Caterpillar, Hewlett-Packard and Motorola this year because the three companies refused its requests to conform to its ‘policy on socially responsible investing.’”

This action parallels that of the United Church of Canada. As reported in May 2013 in the Huffington Post Canada, “Canada’s largest Protestant Church has identified three Israeli companies it may target for a boycott over the firms’ operations in the occupied Palestinian territories. The United Church of Canada has identified cosmetics company Ahava and home and gardens goods manufacturer Keter Plastic as companies doing business in “illegal Israeli settlements,” along with SodaStream, a company that makes home carbonation equipment for soft drinks…The church’s General Council approved a report last summer (2012) that called the Israeli occupation ‘the primary contributor to the injustice that underlies the violence of the region’ and called the settlements ‘a serious obstacle’ to peace.”

 

The majority of those who voted for these measures (to be fair, many members were greatly dismayed by the passing of these resolutions) are descendants of Christian Europeans and oblivious of their own “hunchback.” Each of them who owns a house or business or any property in North America is actually occupying land that was forcibly taken away from its true owners, the Native Americans, who lived on the land for centuries before the “pale faces” showed up.

These church-going hypocrites have not even for a moment considered that from an impartial observer of history, they could be viewed as occupiers who are continuing the tainted legacy of their ruthless, thieving ancestors. They would be howling with rage and demanding revenge and retribution if rockets and missiles from Indian reservations (in my view, a polite word for ghettos) were raining down on their country clubs and churches and schools and if suicide bombers detonated themselves in their restaurants and buses.

I imagine that it would be accurate to describe them as Christians who believe in the Bible – including the Old Testament, where it clearly states that G-d promised the Land of Israel to the Hebrews – the Jewish people – and it is their ancestral home. There was always a Jewish presence there over the centuries.

SWIFT Refuses to Suspend Israel, Russia

Tuesday, October 7th, 2014

The Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT) has announced it will not buckle to pressure to disconnect Israel – or for that matter, Russia – from its international transaction system.

“SWIFT regrets the pressure, as well as the surrounding media speculation, both of which risk undermining the systemic character of the services that SWIFT provides its customers around the world. As a utility with a systemic global character, it has no authority to make sanctions decisions,” the group said in a statement released on Monday.

“SWIFT services are designed to facilitate its customers’ compliance with sanctions and other regulations, however SWIFT will not make unilateral decisions to disconnect institutions from its network as a result of political pressure,” the communique said.

The international Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions (BDS) movement has been trying to pressure the system – as well as numerous corporations and other systems – to boycott Israel in an attempt to destroy its economy. BDS supporters are hoping that through economic destruction, Israel will be forced to withdraw from territory it won in the defensive war forced upon it by Arab nations in 1967 – including numerous Jerusalem neighborhoods restored to the Israeli capital since that time.

Disconnecting Israel from SWIFT would isolate its economy from international trade. However, the Brussels-based SWIFT is incorporated under Belgium law, the system noted, blocking it from making such unilateral decisions.

“Any decision to impose sanctions on countries or individual entities rests solely with the competent government bodies and applicable legislators. Being EU-based, SWIFT complies fully with all applicable European law,” the statement said.

Last month, the SWIFT system transmitted more than 21 million financial messages per day between more than 10,500 financial institutions and corporations, in 215 countries, according to the RT news site.

Over the summer there were discussions among EU leaders on whether to consider disconnecting Russia from the SWIFT system as means of pressuring Moscow into backing away from the Ukraine conflict.

Port of Oakland Loses as ZIM Moves to Friendlier Shores

Tuesday, September 30th, 2014

On Sunday night, after not being able to unload at the Port of Oakland over the weekend, the ZIM Shanghai decided to head to the friendlier Port of Los Angeles, where BDS protests are ignored and ZIM ships are unload, unhindered.

The ship will arrive there Tuesday.

On Saturday, ILWU 10 and 34 released a statement claiming they are not involved in the BDS protest against unloading Israeli owned ZIM ships at the Port of Oakland, and that their workers were physically threatened by the BDS protesters. They claim their leadership and management have no role in organizing the conflict.

ILWU statement on blockage of Zim vessel by protesters at Port of Oakland, Sept. 27, 2014:

SAN FRANCISCO, CA: At 6:00 PM Saturday, ILWU Local 10 and 34 represented longshoremen and clerks dispatched to work the vessel ZIM Shanghai at SSA’s Oakland California Terminal were met with hostile demonstrators, effectively blocking all access to the terminal. Longshoremen and Clerks trying to report to work were threatened physically at some points of ingress and their personal vehicles were physically blocked. As such, all personnel stood-by outside of the demonstration perimeters for health and safety purposes. At approximately 8 PM SSA released all personnel from work.

As far as the union can ascertain, the protests are organized by a coalition of individuals and organizations that plan events and create action alerts under the name of “Block the Boat for Gaza” online.

The ILWU is not among the groups organizing the protests, and the leadership and membership of the ILWU have taken no position on the Israel/Gaza conflict.

The union released the statement after claims arose that some in their leadership were using the BDS protest to bolster their contract negotiating position with the Port. ILWU 10 workers are currently working without contracts.

The Port of Oakland is also the only port in the United States where BDS protesters have been able to intimidate and physically threaten the Longshoremen into not working.

Looking at photos of the individual protesters, it is kind of hard to imagine them physically intimidating any Longshoreman.

To their credit, some Longshoremen expressed their anger at the BDS protesters this week, cursing them, and one worker even tried to run past the protesters in their car through a back gate to try to get to work.

Members of the virulently anti-Israel ISM organization were also spotted at the BDS protest.

If union leaders were trying to use the protesters as part of their negotiations, as some claim, it appears they overplayed their hand.

The BDS protesters are looking at this as victory, but in reality, there are only losers in Oakland.

ZIM may not call on the Port of Oakland again, certainly not until the ILWU 10 has a contract and guarantees to unload ZIM ships. Other shipping companies wary of the port’s unreliability may also consider the same.

With an estimated 150 ZIM visits a year, that’s a lot of business and perhaps even jobs for the City of Oakland to lose.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/israel/port-of-oakland-loses-as-zim-moves-to-friendlier-shores/2014/09/30/

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